Flip: How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head - And Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings

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Overview

What do the superstars of modern business have in common? An ability to "flip"—to think counterintuitively and then act boldly, with no regard for "business as usual" conventions. one of the youngest and fastest-rising stars on the international consulting and speaking circuit, Peter Sheahan reveals how the world's most effective organizations and individuals distinguish themselves from the competition instead of running with the pack.

Sheahan ...

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Flip: How Counter-Intuitive Thinking is Changi

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Overview

What do the superstars of modern business have in common? An ability to "flip"—to think counterintuitively and then act boldly, with no regard for "business as usual" conventions. one of the youngest and fastest-rising stars on the international consulting and speaking circuit, Peter Sheahan reveals how the world's most effective organizations and individuals distinguish themselves from the competition instead of running with the pack.

Sheahan explores six major flips

  • Action Creates Clarity—to move forward you must act in spite of ambiguity.
  • Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick Three, Then Add Something Extra—the new standard in every industry.
  • To develop competitive advantage, you must Absolutely, Positively Sweat the Small Stuff.
  • Satisfy customers' needs for engagement and contact—it's not "just business"—Business Is Personal.
  • To win mass-market success, be courageous, Find It on the Fringe, and separate yourself from the competitive herd.
  • To Get Control, Give It Up—empower others to create, dream, and believe for you.

Stick to what you learned in business school at your peril. Today's small-world economy calls for a new way of doing business. It calls for Flip.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sheahan, consultant and Young Turk of the business world, turns conventional wisdom around to discover marketing techniques effective with today's younger consumers, "who can't go to the toilet without phoning five of their friends." Sheahan puts forth business model-shattering concepts like gaining control by giving it up: allowing customers, networks and rank-and-file employees to improve products through feedback, interaction and inclusiveness. He even "flips"conventional thinking on outsourcing: "It is one thing to make products or do the paperwork for the world cheaply, and it is another entirely to innovate, design and sell goods and services to the world's advanced consumer markets." Sheahan illustrates his points convincingly with examples pulled from the business headlines, though some of his ideas may strike readers as overly dramatic and hard to follow, like putting as much effort into staff satisfaction as into customer satisfaction. Elsewhere, readers will find business fundamentals updated ("absolutely, positively sweat the small stuff" and "you've got to be fast, good, cheap, and more!"), and increasingly familiar lessons on exploiting a niche ("Mass-market success: Find it on the fringe"). Business owners and decision makers trying to capture the hearts and minds of today's younger consumers will find this a helpful guide.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061719639
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,367,155
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Not yet thirty years old, Peter Sheahan is one of the world's foremost strategic thinkers and business consultants. In the space of three years he has built a multimillion-dollar consulting practice, attracting clients such as Coca-Cola, L'Oréal, and Ernst & Young.

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Table of Contents

Preface To The Paperback Edition vii

Introduction: Getting Flipped! 1

1 The Four Forces Of Change 7

2 Action Creates Clarity 29

3 Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick Three-Then Add Something Extra 73

4 Absolutely, Positively Sweat The Small Stuff 99

5 Business Is Personal 159

6 Mass-Market Success: Find It On The Fringe 199

7 To Get Control, Give It Up 229

Conclusion: Get Moving! 287

Acknowledgments 291

Notes 293

Index 299

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First Chapter

Flip
How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head--and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings

Chapter One

The Four Forces of Change

I hope everyone knows that the world is changing. Pundits in every field talk incessantly about the constant change we are experiencing, to the point that "change agent" has become one of the biggest clichés of our time. But what specifically is changing? And why does it feel so pervasive?

Allow me to introduce you to the four forces of change that are completely redefining the way you compete in the marketplace, attract and reward staff, and even live your life. And then, through a series of flips, allow me to help you deal with these four forces of change. (The latter being more important.) This is not a book about the fact of change, it is a book about how to handle and profit from change. First, however, it is essential that we identify succinctly what is changing, because only then can we get more specific about what to do about it.

Here are the four forces of change I will be referring to throughout the book:

1. increasing compression of time and space
2. increasing complexity
3. increasing transparency and accountability
4. increasing expectations on the part of everyone for everything

These forces are squeezing organizations and individuals alike. If you want to, you can see them as enemies, as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that are ending business as you know it. Or you can welcome them as allies that are indeed changing the nature of business in challenging ways, but that also have the potential to accelerate yoursuccess and help you achieve competitive advantage.

None of the four forces is new. They've been around in one form or another at least as long as human beings have been creating complex societies. But there has been a dramatic shift in how the four forces affect our daily lives. They've never been in as tight and immediate a feedback loop as they are today. That's why the pundits can't stop talking about change and change agents. That's why organizations and enterprises all over the world are freaking out about these shifts. And that's why you and your company must get on the front foot and learn to ride the wave of change—you stand to reap massive windfalls. Just think of Toyota and the car-industry-shifting Prius, or Apple and iTunes leading to the phenomenal sales of the iPod.

Let's take a look at these four forces.

1. Increasing compression of time and space

Outside of science fiction and the thought experiments of theoretical physicists, it is not actually possible to compress time or space. However, our perceptions of both are certainly malleable.

Compression of time

Human beings have always been impatient. Today we expect things to happen faster than ever before. And not just a little bit faster, but over the last few years a lot faster. The quicker something can be done, the quicker we expect it to happen, whether it's the movement of goods by overnight courier companies such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS, the movement of people on flights from one side of the world to the other, or the movement of digital information from anywhere to anywhere via broadband Internet (something that merits fuller discussion below). They all feed our insatiable need for speed.

Staffan B. Linder's book The Harried Leisure Class notes that as economic growth and affluence increase, "the pace is quickening, and our lives are in fact becoming steadily more hectic." This has formed the basis of a commonly discussed sociological concept: as affluence increases, so does pressure around time. Ask yourself, are you feeling a little bit of pressure around time? Consider the following example.

I was discussing this idea of compression around time with the partners of a leading law firm. Afterward the CEO told me how only a decade or so ago as a young lawyer, he typically spent an hour dictating a letter to a client. Then he figured on half a day for the letter to be typed and returned to his in-box for signature before being put in the mail, two days for it to reach the recipient, two days for the recipient to draft and send a reply, and two more days for the reply to reach his desk—more than a week for a single exchange of business letters. Today, as CEO of his firm, he types and sends his own e-mails, or a short message text on his BlackBerry if he's traveling, and he expects an answer later the same day, if not within the hour.

And this CEO is not some "young twentysomething" exhibiting the impatience of youth. Increasingly we begin our workdays not fully rested, because we got to bed so late the night before, whether from trying to get overdue work done or to have a bit of social life in the midst of all our other commitments. When the alarm first goes off, we hit the snooze button and go into what a friend of mine calls "mathematician mode," calculating the absolute last possible minute we can get out of bed and not be late. Then we race to catch an express train or bus to the office. Whether it's a blessing or a curse, technology frees us from the need to interact with anyone as we board; we just insert our prepaid ticket in the slot. When we arrive at work we mill about restlessly, waiting for the express elevator. Then we spend the day responding to the hectic demands of colleagues and superiors. We have two-minute noodles for lunch. And when we get home, we pop our instant dinner in the microwave and stand there thinking, Come on now, I have not got all minute.

An exaggeration, perhaps, but I'm sure most people will agree it's only a slight one.

Unless you want to go off into the bush and be a hermit, there is no escape from the nearly instant communication and feedback loops represented by e-mail, text messaging, and cell phones. Whether we're talking about countries, companies, or individuals, events that happen on the other side of the globe can and do have an immediate impact on our daily lives.

Flip
How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head--and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings
. Copyright © by Peter Sheahan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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